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PACAF Airmen show C-17 medical capability to Indian defense minister

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Pacific Air Forces Airmen showcased aeromedical evacuation capabilities of the C-17 Globemaster III as they hosted Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and Arun K. Singh, the Indian ambassador to the U.S. on Dec. 7, as a part of a U.S. Pacific Command visit designed to enhance the U.S.-Indian partnership.

“It is an honor to host Minister Parrikar and Ambassador Singh and discuss how the Indian and U.S. air forces can further enhance their cooperation,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Dillon, the PACAF vice commander. “A strengthened partnership between our two nations is important for regional peace and security. India’s ‘Act East’ policy and the U.S. rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific highlight our converging interests.”

During talks earlier in the day, Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., the U.S. PACOM commander, and Parrikar discussed the growth of the strategic partnership between the two nations and how routine, regular and predictable engagements strengthen that partnership. The two also emphasized the importance of expanded maritime security cooperation within the context of broader military-to-military ties, especially in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

For their part in the visit, Airmen offered an in-depth AE demonstration with one of India’s newest aircraft, the C-17.

The Indian air force has the world's second largest fleet of C-17s, behind the U.S., and these aircraft have already proven their value in supporting international response to regional crises. During India’s Operation Maitri, IAF used six C-17s and five C-130 Hercules, among other airlift assets, to bring personnel and supplies into Nepal alongside PACAF C-17s.

“The capabilities the C-17 brings to the IAF are tremendous,” said Col. Randall Huiss, the 15th Wing commander. “They will now have the ability to tackle issues using one platform versus multiple aircraft. For example, the C-17 can be used to air drop supplies needed for humanitarian aid into places not easily accessed.”

By demonstrating AE capabilities of the C-17, Airmen provided Indian defense officials an understanding of how they can better leverage their C-17 fleet in a variety of contingency scenarios to include natural disasters.

“With the (institution) of AE, Indian air force introduces a category of treatment and care,” Col. Terri Bailey, the chief of aeromedical support and the PACAF surgeon general. “AE allows for the C-17 to be used in a multifunctional capacity to treat patients over long distances. The aircraft is already equipped to handle anything from neonatal care to critical care patients.”

The C-17 provides the Indian air force with a payload of 164,900 pounds and can take off from a 7,000-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles and land on a small, austere airfield with runways of 3,500 feet or less. The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings.

The IAF received their 10 C-17s in June 2013. India paid $4.1 billion for the aircraft, which is expected to replace their IL-76 fleet.